The National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, (APC) Asiwaju Bola Tinubu has urged the federal government to look beyond the current palliative measures in place for Nigerians during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Tinubu in his message to the government on Wednesday, noted that urgent steps have to be taken by the government to protect citizens from hunger and economic breakdown during this period.
He warned that if adequate measures were not put in place to stimulate the nation’s economy, government may have bigger issues to deal with after the coronavirus pandemic.
Tinubu called on the President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government to make provisions for the average salary earners and small business owners who would be affected by the pandemic and the lockdown.
He noted that the government needs to think and act beyond the cash transfers, Trader Moni and other provisions of the current social intervention schemes.
He said: “Most businesses are small, service-sector oriented ones that have been roughly battered by the crisis. Without relief, many of these small businesses will permanently close even when things begin their return to normal.
“The financial sector too has suffered. Foreign investment has shrunk as has domestic borrowing. Large businesses also struggle because aggregate demand for their products and services has fallen. Yet, help to banks and large businesses is relatively simple.”
He suggested that the Central Bank of Nigeria should provide non-interest loans to help affected businesses bounce back after the pandemic.
“Such aid can be rapidly provided by the CBN. The CBN can lend large amounts of virtually non-interest loans to these firms with the proviso that the companies maintain their existing payrolls.
“If we must hold to the restrictive public health measures, the people will need economic relief. Activating Trader-moni and other programs will help many small-scale traders but not the average wage earner who just lost his job. Resort to the strategic grain reserves will blunt hunger but the finite reserve cannot cover all who are in danger.
“If we do not take additional steps to stimulate the economy and answer the demand for food, we risk a deep economic contraction that will prove difficult to cure. The worst of this dark potential can be avoided if the government is prepared to act in ways that not only feeds people but protects the basic contours of our private-sector economy so that it can more quickly revive once normal conditions return,” the APC chieftain noted.
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